Overwhelming, painful, exhausting and ultimately joyous

Where did you give birth or where was the birth you witnessed?

Abergavenny, Wales

Can you describe where your/the birth was?

I gave birth to both of my sons in the hospital here, but had very different experiences. With my first son, we had to wait in the waiting room until a labour room was available, then i was moved from room to room a total of six times during my labour, various interventions, giving birth and then post birth stitches and recovery. It made the experience more traumatic and i felt totally out of control. For my second son, I went immediately into one room and remained there throughout. The lighting was low and there was my music playing. It felt very calm and safe.

Who was present at your/the birth?

My husband was there for both births. At the first one there was a sucession of midwives, doctors, an anaesthetist, I lose count! At the second, there was a midwife and a private doula that we hired.

Can you describe the experience of giving birth or watching the birth?

Giving birth is overwhelming, painful, exhausting and ultimately joyous. With my first son, birth complications meant that things moved quickly and there was no time for anyone to explain to me what was happening. I didn’t find out why it happened that way, and how serious the issues were until afterwards. My memories are confused, of being rushed from room to room, feeling out of control, and weak and limp afterwards. Dear of this happening a second time let us to hire a doula for the birth of our second son. She was there to support me and, if things went wrong, to explain the situation and what our options were. As it happened, her presence gave me the confidence to ask for what I wanted and do things my way. I had a quick, natural birth with no pain relief and have much clearer memories of the sensations of giving birth. My first birth felt like it happened to me, my second birth feels like something I achieved myself.